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Commentary: Can Russia Embrace A New Model For Central Asia?

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

I count myself among the many Kyrgyz people who have high expectations that the country's October 10 parliamentary elections will lead to the establishment of the first parliamentary democracy in Central Asia.

Democracy in my country won't look like the classical version found in many European countries. It will have its problems and its shortcomings. But it will be real and it will be ours.

Small and impoverished, Kyrgyzstan has seen two "colored" revolutions in five years, the 2005 Tulip Revolution and the events of April 2010. Now it is on the verge of a historic opportunity to create an island of democracy in a region where for two decades president-dictators have ruled with impunity.

Surprise, Surprise

All these events have played out in the authoritarian shadow of Vladimir Putin's Russia. That example played a significant role in subverting the democratic impulses of the 2005 uprising that ousted President Askar Akaev. Now, in the wake of the April events, at this historical juncture for Kyrgyzstan, Russia again is demonstrating anxiety about the choices of the Kyrgyz people.

To read the full story

Copyright (c) 2010. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Commentary: Can Russia Embrace A New Model For Central Asia?

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